NWMLS: Closed Sales Allegedly Spike 33% in December

December market stats have been published by the NWMLS. Here’s their press release: Western Washington home sales during December nearly equals year-ago levels.

“If you were in any mall in Washington state in December, you got the feeling that the economy is headed in the right direction,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate Company and a member of the board of directors of Northwest Multiple Listing Service. “That increase in consumer confidence is the boost the real estate market needs,” he suggested.

I see. So now we’ve moved from using open house traffic as a gauge of local housing market health to using mall foot traffic. Fascinating.

“Despite the expiration of the tax credit, King County saw about 3 percent more home sales in 2010 than in 2009,” Jacobi noted.

You mean the tax credit that was in effect for half of 2010, and basically half of 2009? Wow, what an accomplishment.

Anyway, let’s have a look at the actual numbers.

CAUTION

NWMLS monthly reports include an undisclosed and varying number of
sales from previous months in their pending and closed sales statistics.

Here’s your King County SFH summary, with the arrows to show whether the year-over-year direction of each indicator is favorable or unfavorable news for buyers and sellers (green = favorable, red = unfavorable):

December 2010 Number MOM YOY Buyers Sellers
Active Listings 7,364 -15.6% +6.4%
Closed Sales 1,458 +33.5% -0.3%
SAAS (?) 2.00 -3.1% +0.5%
Pending Sales 1,379 -15.3% -2.4%
Months of Supply 5.34 -0.3% +9.1%
Median Price* $370,000 +2.8% -2.6%

Feel free to download the updated Seattle Bubble Spreadsheet (Excel 2003 format), but keep in mind the caution above.

Here’s your closed sales yearly comparison chart:

King County SFH Closed Sales

There’s definitely something fishy going on with the closed sales number being reported here. The 33.5% increase between November and December is over twice as large as the next-largest increase between those months in any year since 2000. The average November to December change in closed sales has been +1.0% between 2000 and 2009. The highest change was +14.3% in 2004. Does anyone have a reasonable explanation for why we would see a sudden surge in sales like this?

It’s especially hard to believe that something fishy isn’t going on when the 33% MOM surge in closed sales doesn’t follow any similar movement in pending sales. Closed sales surged to their highest point since July (the month after the tax credit expired), while pending sales were flat for the five months following the credit expiration, followed by a predictable seasonal dropoff the last two months.

King County SFH Pending & Closed Sales

So what gives?

Here’s the graph of inventory with each year overlaid on the same chart.

King County SFH Inventory

Same basic story we’ve had the last few months, nothing odd here.

Here’s the supply/demand YOY graph. In place of the now-unreliable measure of pending sales, the “demand” in this chart is represented by closed sales, which have had a consistent definition throughout the decade.

King County Supply vs Demand % Change YOY

Note the sudden dramatic spike upward in the red line.

Here’s the median home price YOY change graph:

King County SFH YOY Price Change

Still sitting below zero.

And lastly, here is the chart comparing King County SFH prices each month for every year back to 1994.

King County SFH Prices

Prices followed the same general pattern we’ve seen the last few years, bumping up a bit between November and December. May 2005: $370,500. December 2010: $370,000.

Here’s where news blurbs from other sources go:

Seattle Times: King County home sales in December strongest since summer
Seattle P-I: Home sales still slow, but agents see hope in economy

  

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

138 comments:

  1. 1
    drshort says:

    Am I missing something, or do the king county breakouts linked in the press release show closed sales down 15% YOY?

    http://www.nwrealestate.com/nwrpub/common/news.cfm

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  2. 2
    Jonness says:

    It doesn’t make sense to me. I realize there are a lot of people jumping off the fence right now believing they messed up because they missed the 3.875% 30-year fixed. But I don’t believe this can fully account for the 33% increase. It seems to me, this would only pull off the short-term fence sitters who wanted to buy something within the next few months and were not taking a longer term approach to getting the best buy that results from the bubble downturn. Then suddenly, they realized they waited a month too long and entered into a bidding war for a house that had been sitting empty for 18 months.

    As for the price increasing, I realize this is somewhat normal for a price increase to occur this month, but I’m still surprised. I’m seeing a whole lot of pain and price cuts out on the street, and prices appear to me to be lower than ever. Maybe it’s only the price range I’m looking in? I’ll wait and see what CS says.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  3. 3
    The Tim says:

    RE: drshort @ 1 – Hmm, that is quite odd. It seems the numbers in the KC Breakouts are even more made-up than usual.

    RE: Jonness @ 2 – I’m fairly certain that there was not a 33% surge in sales. My current working theory is that there may have been a surge of agents reporting sales from previous months in the system to get them in before the end of the year.

    Don’t forget that earlier in 2010 the NWMLS had a tumultuous switchover to a new back end system. I’ve heard through the grapevine that a lot of agents were avoiding using the new system for as long as they could. It’s possible that due to the switchover, there were a lot more end-of-year late reports from agents than a normal year.

    A bunch of agents suddenly entering sales that actually happened in July, August, September, etc. would show up as a “surge” in closed sales thanks to the nonsense way the NWMLS reports their numbers.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  4. 4
    deejayoh says:

    Tim – isn’t his consistent with what your own analysis of warranty deed volume showed just a couple days ago -e.g. is the NWMLS volume pattern the same as what shows up in legal filings?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  5. 5

    By The Tim @ 3:

    RE: – I’m fairly certain that there was not a 33% surge in sales. My current working theory is that there may have been a surge of agents reporting sales from previous months in the system to get them in before the end of the year..

    The only thing wrong with that theory is that you predicted this increase based on the number of warranty deeds recorded. Actually you predicted an even larger increase!

    Also, I don’t know exactly what cutoff the NWMLS used for November reporting (technically today an agent could still report a sale for December, but they already have stats out), but I’m only showing roughly about 100 late reported sales.

    I’m wondering if there’s some tax issue where people wanted to close before the end of the year. With more investor types in the market, if there is some benefit (e.g. depreciation) to closing in an earlier year, that could be having more of an impact this year. It doesn’t seem to be more short sales or REO being pushed through.

    “Roughly 100″ from NWMLS sources, but not compiled or guaranteed by the NWMLS.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  6. 6
    ray pepper says:

    33%!!!!!!!!!.

    I’m in that % with our purchase in the 98332. I wanted to wait but sometimes the GEM finds you. Heck, we can’t even move into it for a few years but sometimes you just gotta pull the trigger..

    BTW no where near a bottom macro-level speaking without stimulation..Just a long slogggggg ahead of short sales and foreclosures in 2011-2015 placing a lid on any form of appreciation…..Patience, because they are ALL coming back…Just a matter of time…

    **However, all cards are off the table with a NEW round of EPIC stimulus that will incentivize people to STAY put in their upside down asset. Lets Watch and Learn together!! its coming!!**

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  7. 7
    The Tim says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 5 & deejayoh @ 4 – What I said on that post was “I rather doubt that sales actually spiked that much” and that there might be “something odd going on behind the scenes with this data.”

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  8. 8

    By The Tim @ 7:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 5 & deejayoh @ 4 – What I said on that post was “I rather doubt that sales actually spiked that much” and that there might be “something odd going on behind the scenes with this data.”

    But none of what you’re hypothesizing today would have anything to do with deeds being recorded. When an agent late records a transaction into the NWMLS system, the deed was recorded in a prior month. No new deed gets recorded in the later month.

    I think some tax explanation is the most likely explanation. I just don’t know what that tax explanation is.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  9. 9
    Jonness says:

    RE: The Tim @ 3
    Using the “Current King County Breakouts” link, for Dec10 “All King County” Res (SFH) Only I’m reading:

    Total Active Listings
    % Change: +9.08%

    Pending sales:
    % Change: -21.09

    Closed Sales:
    % Change: -25.54%

    Median Price:
    % Change: -0.66%

    I’m not certain what these numbers are intended to represent? Can you shed some light on this?

    Thanks :)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  10. 10
    Scotsman says:

    Might be some banks going ahead and pulling the trigger on several months of pendings? I don’t follow these stats very closely so I’m not sure what generates a reported sale, but it seems plausible that some banks may have wanted to put the losses on the 2010 books so they pushed to close old pendings or other sales they may have been stalling.

    At any rate, national consumer confidence actually fell in December, so the “mall shopping indicator” theory is out. And none of the underlying fundamentals have changed to allow for significant and sustainable increases in either sales or prices going forward.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  11. 11
    The Tim says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 8 – Note that I’m not saying that I don’t think there was an increase. Just that I don’t believe it was really that large in magnitude. And it’s completely possible that there are separate weird issues affecting both the county records and the NWMLS report.

    When I download the results of a Redfin search of closed sales, I get a month-over-month increase of about 20%. Still big, but not as ridiculously large as what the NWMLS is claiming.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  12. 12
    Ahau says:

    RE: The Tim @ 11 – Make sure you’re not comparing a recent search for December against any numbers that Redfin may have revised for November. They always find 100+ sales after their initial report.

    I think some kind of tax issue is at play, too. Maybe folks were pushing to close by the 31st in order to realize a loss for a 2010 tax break?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  13. 13
    Dave0 says:

    RE: The Tim @ 3 – A surge in agents reporting sales wouldn’t explain the 35% jump in King County warranty deeds you saw a few days back.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  14. 14
    Erik says:

    In the market I watch closely (Mercer Island), I definitely noticed a surge in the number of e-mail alerts showing sold homes in the month of December. At least in my micro economy, I think the low-ball (Realistic) offers finally wore down quite a few owners who were holding out for better times. For many, it may have been better to start the year fresh, than to hold on to unrealistic expectations.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  15. 15
    Dave0 says:

    RE: Dave0 @ 13 – Obviously I’m not refreshing the page enough to keep up with the conversation…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  16. 16
    Mark says:

    Part of it has to with interest rates going up. People were rushing to close, generally one only gets a 30 day lock on pre-approval

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  17. 17
    drshort says:

    By Jonness @ 9:

    RE: The Tim @ 3
    Using the “Current King County Breakouts” link, for Dec10 “All King County” Res (SFH) Only I’m reading:

    Total Active Listings
    % Change: +9.08%

    Pending sales:
    % Change: -21.09

    Closed Sales:
    % Change: -25.54%

    Median Price:
    % Change: -0.66%

    I’m not certain what these numbers are intended to represent? Can you shed some light on this?

    Thanks :)

    I just checked the breakouts again. Now the numbers look different, but still no big increase. 1,458 in 2010 vs. 1,462 in 2009 (SFH closed sales in King County). It was showing 1,309 in 2010 vs. 1,758 in 2009 about an hour ago.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  18. 18
    Mark says:

    The breakouts were showing October 2010 numbers for December, they seem to have it corrected now!!!!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  19. 19

    By Scotsman @ 10:

    Might be some banks going ahead and pulling the trigger on several months of pendings? I don’t follow these stats very closely so I’m not sure what generates a reported sale, but it seems plausible that some banks may have wanted to put the losses on the 2010 books so they pushed to close old pendings or other sales they may have been stalling.

    That’s why I checked REOs and short sales. The percentages didn’t seem out of line, maybe even slightly low.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  20. 20
    Jonness says:

    By drshort @ 15:

    I just checked the breakouts again. Now the numbers look different, but still no big increase. 1,458 in 2010 vs. 1,462 in 2009 (SFH closed sales in King County). It was showing 1,309 in 2010 vs. 1,758 in 2009 about an hour ago.

    I saved the spreadsheet from an hour ago just in case the numbers changed. I see the same thing as you.

    Apparently they are still in the midst of fabricating the numbers and having a tough time reverse engineering a drill-down report that matches the previously reported aggregate. :)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  21. 21

    RE: Jonness @ 20
    Believe Everything You Read

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  22. 22
    Jonness says:

    I’m seeing some interesting hypothesis here.

    1) Buyers jumped off the fence due to mortgage rates increasing.

    2) Sellers knew mortgage rates were moving up and prices were going down, so they took a lower offer. (Median price actually going up could be due to changes in size and/or quality, but this begs the question of why Altos Research shows median list price dropping into the sewer while NWMLS shows median sold price increasing?)

    2) Banks knew mortgage rates were moving up and prices were going down,This unleashed a wave of on-hold pendings that were well-distributed across prior months.

    3) Tax purposes

    4) Partially explained by normal month-end spillover

    5) ?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  23. 23
    Ben says:

    By Jonness @ 22:

    2) Sellers knew mortgage rates were moving up and prices were going down, so they took a lower offer. (Median price actually going up could be due to changes in size and/or quality, but this begs the question of why Altos Research shows median list price dropping into the sewer while NWMLS shows median sold price increasing?)

    I was wondering the same thing. Housing tracker way down as well. “One of these things, is not like the others”…..Words of wisdom from Sesame Street.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  24. 24
    deejayoh says:

    By The Tim @ 11:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 8 – Note that I’m not saying that I don’t think there was an increase. Just that I don’t believe it was really that large in magnitude. And it’s completely possible that there are separate weird issues affecting both the county records and the NWMLS report.

    When I download the results of a Redfin search of closed sales, I get a month-over-month increase of about 20%. Still big, but not as ridiculously large as what the NWMLS is claiming.

    Or it is possible that two separate sources that are independently showing the same trend are right, and there is no other explanation required.

    Seriously, why does there have to be some big conspiracy here? Even with the big “surge” sales in December were still lower than they had been for 7 of the last 10 years. It’s not like it was some sort of record. It was big jump off of a very weak month. Percentage changes don’t mean as much off of small bases.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  25. 25
    deejayoh says:

    By Jonness @ 22:

    but this begs the question of why Altos Research shows median list price dropping into the sewer while NWMLS shows median sold price increasing?

    Couple of key differences:
    – Altos figures are based on listing price, not sales price
    – and they are reported at the city level vs the median here is for King County

    Oh, and housingtracker sucks. That site is basically useless for “data”

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  26. 26

    By deejayoh @ 25:

    By Jonness @ 22:
    but this begs the question of why Altos Research shows median list price dropping into the sewer while NWMLS shows median sold price increasing?

    Couple of key differences:
    – Altos figures are based on listing price, not sales price
    – and they are reported at the city level vs the median here is for King County

    Oh, and housingtracker sucks. That site is basically useless for “data”

    In the open thread I asked Tim to explain just what that first Altos graph is. Pretty clearly it’s not the list price of SFR in Seattle, unless somehow the list price in Seattle is lower than the rest of King County. Also, the countywide data of list price doesn’t show anywhere near the same rate of decrease from November to December.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  27. 27
    ARDELL says:

    Now you know why i do my own numbers.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  28. 28
    ARDELL says:

    Just checked for you. At the moment December is running at 26% more than November for King County SFH (I don’t include houseboats, mobile homes or townhomes). That same number represents an 11% increase over October.

    Postings are not usually reliable until about 10 business days into the month. December postings have 120 more than when I did the numbers on 1/1/11.

    http://www.realtown.com/Ardell/blog/tracking-the-market/2011-home-prices

    All of the actual numbers are in that 4th graph in the link. Add 120 to 12/2010 for as of right now. I won’t finalize my numbers until at least the 10th of January, as December postings are still coming in from people who have been away for the Holiday.

    Since townhomes are not counted in the majority of King County, because they are condos, I don’t include townhomes at all. But I can run the numbers on most any basis. I just like to keep them as much apples to apples as possible.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  29. 29
    deejayoh says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 26:

    In the open thread I asked Tim to explain just what that first Altos graph is. Pretty clearly it’s not the list price of SFR in Seattle, unless somehow the list price in Seattle is lower than the rest of King County. Also, the countywide data of list price doesn’t show anywhere near the same rate of decrease from November to December.

    If you click on the chart and then click on the “explain this” on their site it is median price for listings. http://www.altosresearch.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=71

    Not sure where one gets median price for King county listings but I would assume it is lower than seattle as well.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  30. 30
    ARDELL says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 24

    Current December closed sales of SFH in King is 43% higher than December of 2008. That’s a pretty big deal. I think some are upset that they didn’t fall off a cliff without the tax credit. It proves the tax credit worked when the training wheels came off. Some did not want that result.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  31. 31
    ARDELL says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 29RE: deejayoh @ 29

    deejayoh asks: “Not sure where one gets median price for King county listings but I would assume it is lower than seattle as well.”

    deejayoh,

    The late postings after 1/1 for December closings took the King County Median up from $379,000 to $384,000.

    I didn’t strike a December Seattle median back on 1/1. As of today it is $411,000.

    One of the problems, as I mentioned above, is most of King County has attached strip homes (townhomes) excluded from SFH data. Seattle, most of Seattle but not all, counts them as SFH in the County Records and the mls system as well. So the above numbers have no townhomes in either and is a true median differential.

    If I add the townhomes back in for Seattle the median drops from $411,000 to $390,000.

    The reason for the variance is that in many parts of Seattle, the lots under each townhome are subdivided. When they buid the exact 8 homes on one lot vs 8, in the same configuration without subdividing the ground lots first, they switch from single family to condo.

    I don’t think the average single family homebuyer in King County would make that distinction when calculating home values. So I exclude all townhomes whether the County calls them a condo or a SFH.

    (required disclosure) The above numbers are hand calculated by ARDELL and are not compiled, verified or posted by The Northwest Mulitple Listing Service)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  32. 32
    ARDELL says:

    It’s about interest rates which dropped to 3.875% in Mid October and are now up almost a full 1% at 4.625%.

    Many waiting for price started to feel the payment change and jumped in when rates got to 4.25% in mid November creating more December closings.

    Not the only reason…but a significant one. People didn’t react when they went down in October as much as they did when they started back up in November.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  33. 33
    Scotsman says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 30

    “It proves the tax credit worked when the training wheels came off. ”

    WTF? Where do you come up with this stuff? It proves the tax credit worked about as much as the fact that most people eat carrots proves that bipedalism is related to vegetable consumption. You should work for NAR- your sense of creative logic is just what they’re looking for.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  34. 34
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 33

    Scotsman,

    1) Am not a member of “The NAR”

    2) Volume and price are holding post credit

    When the kid keeps riding down the street after you take off the training wheels…they served their purpose.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  35. 35
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 33

    P.S. The NAR would never say the credit “worked”. They would always want a new and bigger credit to boost sales.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  36. 36
    deejayoh says:

    By ARDELL @ 30:

    RE: deejayoh @ 24

    Current December closed sales of SFH in King is 43% higher than December of 2008. That’s a pretty big deal. I think some are upset that they didn’t fall off a cliff without the tax credit. It proves the tax credit worked when the training wheels came off. Some did not want that result.

    um, vs. two years ago? who makes this sort of comparison?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  37. 37
    Scotsman says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 34

    “2) Volume and price are holding post credit”

    So what? How does that establish causation? Talk about someone who wants to see more than the data supports. A month-by-month review of the data suggests that the tax credit pulled some sales forward, but that we have returned to the longer trend- a bump up, a dip down, back to “normal.” And normal appears to be stable to slightly down, not some wild and surprising recovery in sales or prices.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  38. 38
    Jonness says:

    By ARDELL @ 34:

    RE: Scotsman @ 33

    Scotsman,

    1) Am not a member of “The NAR”

    You have redeeming qualities

    2) Volume and price are holding post credit

    When the kid keeps riding down the street after you take off the training wheels…they served their purpose.

    What you are describing appears to be a one time event that lured the least intelligent fence sitters into the market in a giddy, “shucks, I should have jumped at 3.875%” moment. Increased home sells due to rising interest rates is an unsustainable long-term trend. If it weren’t so, the Fed would be purposely raising interest rates over time in an effort to raise mortgage rates and increase home sells instead of spending $trillions in an attempt to purposely lower mortgage rates after they reached the short-term 0-bound.

    I liken your metaphor to, the training wheels served their purpose right up until the kid ran over the edge of the steep canyon and got killed when he hit the stump traveling at 50mph.

    Put another way, in the world of data analysis, a single value does not imply a long-term trend.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  39. 39
    drshort says:

    By Jonness @ 38:

    Put another way, in the world of data analysis, a single value does not imply a long-term trend.

    She’s not doing data analysis. She’s performing marketing.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  40. 40
    Scotsman says:

    RE: drshort @ 39

    “She’s not doing data analysis. She’s performing marketing.”

    Brilliant. +100 ;-)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  41. 41
    One Eyed Man says:

    Its great to discuss the changes in the stats but people seem to be inclined to want to be the first to see a trend and are perhaps inclined to make more out of abrupt changes than they really should. If I recall correctly, after Oct both Jonness and Ardell warned us that the median had fallen off a cliff and we should be prepared for impending dramatic declines. (Talk about strange bedfellows.)

    Real estate may be less fungible than securities and traded in a slower moving market place with much higher transaction costs, but it’s been subject to much higher than normal volatility in the last few years as have the securities markets. In a volatile setting, its my intuitive understanding that short term events are probably a less reliable indicator of longer term trends than normal. In the big picture, these events are often of little relevance. Perhaps someone like Daniel or Blake with a more rigorous background in statistical theory can confirm (or refute) the truth of my intuitive understanding. The only substantive point to my comment is that there’s probably a higher than normal probability that these seemingly extreme statistical fluctuations are much ado about nothing. I assume that if I’m correct, there’s probably some form of statistical law (probably not a mathematical theorem, but maybe) confirming that these statistical surprises are more likely to be irrelevant volatility (noise) in this setting than in a more normal market setting.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  42. 42
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Jonness @ 38

    I should have finished reading the thread as I tend to agree with your last sentence. But as I mentioned, I think that we’re all susceptible to jumping to statistical conclusions based upon what might turn out to be noise in a volatile environment.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  43. 43
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 34

    I’m not out to trash you Ardell, but I’m not sure that your current lack of affiliation with NAR is in fact all the relevant information. If I were cross examining you, my next questions would be:

    Have you ever been a member of NAR, WAR or SKCAR?

    Did your previous or current brokerage ever have any affiliation with NAR, WAR or SKCAR?

    If you had a previous affiliation with NAR, WAR or SKCAR, when and why did you terminate that relationship?

    If you had a prior NAR, WAR or SKCAR membership, was their approx combined annual dues of over $500 one of the reasons for your termination of that membership?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  44. 44
    ARDELL says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 36

    Given the market’s been basically FLAT for two years…two years ago is a significant comparison point.

    The question is what happens after flat? So volume from two years ago as compared to now is a key factor.

    The median home price right now is the same as it was in Jan 2009…two years ago.

    If volume were radically different than two years ago, up or down, it would be a clear signal of where we go from flat. At the moment the indicators point to a continued flat to up…and that is not what was expected post tax credit…or was it?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  45. 45
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 37

    You know what I like most about you, Scotsman? Any sign of down…even 2% down after something went up 5%…and you yell “diving off a cliff! Yippee!”

    Any sign of positive or neutral and you say “so what”.

    I like a man who knows where he stands on things. :)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  46. 46
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Jonness @ 38

    It’s not a “single value” as to volume. 1st quarter 2010 was 64% higher than 1st quarter 2009 and 4th quarter 2010 is higher (only slightly) than 1st quarter 2010.

    Clearly better than most anyone expected.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  47. 47
    ARDELL says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 42

    The volatility has been “the noise”…the market has been pretty ho hum for two years. Without the noise there would have been not much to talk about.

    I think it’s called “fear mongering”.

    Like the poll about the DOW being under or over 10,000 come year end 2010. No mention that oh…it went over 11,500!

    Why no follow up as to 61% doomers being “incorrect”?

    http://seattlebubble.com/blog/2010/07/18/poll-where-will-the-djia-be-at-the-end-of-2010/

    What happened to “he who is without sin may cast the first stone”?

    Oh…and when interest rates were at 5.25% and the market was supposed to fall off a cliff because interest rates were going to go to 7% or 8%? No mention of that being wrong when they went down to 3.875% instead.

    But no fear…the Republicans are back in power. Anything can happen now.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  48. 48
    ARDELL says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 43

    I don’t have much familiarity with WAR and SKCAR. Many years with NAR from 1990 through 2004. PAR, FAR and CAR…but not much with WAR. :)

    I will have been in the Seattle area (Seattle and Kirkland) for 7 years in Feb of 2011. 12 or so of those 84 months I may have been a member by mandatory necessity. Sometimes you don’t have a choice. Most agents in the Country don’t have a choice. We are one of the lucky areas that at least gets a choice most of the time.

    Does that answer your question?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  49. 49
    Jillayne says:

    There have been other years when December’s numbers take a spike upwards.

    I say let’s wait a few months and see what all the numbers look like in May.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  50. 50
    ARDELL says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 43

    Sorry, missed your question as to cost. No, cost is not an issue. If I had to vote as to whether or not the DOJ should put The NAR out of business today, I’d have to vote yes. I’ve felt that way for about 5 to 8 years.

    For sellers they do a good job, and have for over 100 years. They just cannot incorporate Buyer Agency into their practices and thinking. It’s just a bad fit. They have tried from time to time. Doesn’t work.

    The NAR worked when they only represented sellers for 80% of their long history. That’s all they really can do well. I don’t think there’s any fix for that.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  51. 51
    Herman says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 43 – Objection, counsel is badgering the witness.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  52. 52
    Herman says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 47 – I will say again, this blog would benefit greatly from a feature where users make official “on the record” predictions that everyone can refer back to.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  53. 53
    Magnolia 44 says:

    Some comments are laughable. Even if saled are up the pruces are going down down down. I expect another 15 – 20%. The markets are fixed with trillions being pumped in.

    Glad we were able to knock off 1% point of our first under the HARP program, and even being down quite a but and underwater we did just dump another 10$k into our house with some remodeling. Crazy? Nah life goes on man , make this place comfortable while we are here. Bedides, i can always strip the kohler hardware i put in right?

    Cheers all, theres the perspective of someone with skin in the game.

    Btw, i called a govt intervention would come before harp and other things were initiated in early 2009 i believe. I say stay tuned even more will be coming, can someone say principal forgiveness? Second mortgage modifications? We will see.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  54. 54
    Yakima_Hick says:

    Ops! Bubbleheads are upset with the 33% spike in closed sales. I’d say keep smoking that joint and pass it around. Yeah! keep renting that dump ‘yo all. Ardell, you are doing a fantastic job educating these people. Love you babe. lol

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  55. 55
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 48RE: ARDELL @ 47

    I’m not sure if your saying that I’m singling you out to pick on, but that wasn’t my intention. Perhaps I’m fooling myself, but I’d like to think I’m more interested in forwarding the understanding of the issues than forwarding my own ego thru claim to people that I told them so on occassion.

    Over the last two years I’ve probably challenged the Bears predictions about the general economy more often than anyone on Seattle Bubble with the exception of Pfft. With regard to home prices I gernerally haven’t chanllenged peoples opinions, in part because I personally think that over the next year or so prices will probably move back closer to the long term fundamental trend line which is probably another 5% to 10% down from here.

    With regard to the poll about the Dow, in the first week of Sept the DOW hit 10K and Scotsman said it would be below 10K by the end of the year. I told him in my estimation the probability was he would be wrong. The same day I bet Ira a lunch that the DOW would be over approx 10,250 at the end of Nov. Ira and I acknowledged the outcome of the bet on one of the threads last month and he treated me to a great lunch. There wasn’t any need for me to bring it up with Scotsman this week. He knows what the DOW is and I know if I brought it up his response to the current economic data would be that its just a short term bounce to be followed by a debt induced economic reset.

    You may have noticed in my earlier comment, I mentioned that both Jonness and you voiced concern that the Seattle median was falling off a cliff in October. Although Jonness pointed the finger at you for claiming what might be just noise to be a trend, I think you’re right that the Bears often do the same thing.

    Just so you know, I value your contributions to Seattle Bubble and learn from your comments even if I challenge them. In general, I hope I challenge ideas for the purpose of moving the discussion of the issues and peoples understanding forward and not just to be snarky or for my own cheap ego gratification. Although I have to admit that I will say just about anything to try to be funny, hopefully when I do I’m not being too insensitive to peoples feelings.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  56. 56
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 50

    Good answer. Unfortunately I think that the the significance of what you said is probably lost on a lot of those who know little about the history of the brokerage industry. Part of the sales rhetoric geared toward convincing buyers to buy is merely an anachronism. Its a little ironic that the NAR sales promotions haven’t caught up to the fact that in most if not all jurisdictions the selling office now officially represents the buyer notwithstanding that the commission is still paid by the seller.

    Just so you know, I’ve got a brokers license and am a member of NAR although I refuse to pay their voluntary PAC contributions. I tend to vote against most of what they promote.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  57. 57
    Yakima_Hick says:

    Check out today’s front page news in Seattle Times boys and girls! King County Home Sales in December strongest since summer. Like they said Christmas in July Ha! http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2013850683_homesales06.html

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  58. 58
    pfft says:

    By ARDELL @ 45:

    RE: Scotsman @ 37

    You know what I like most about you, Scotsman? Any sign of down…even 2% down after something went up 5%…and you yell “diving off a cliff! Yippee!”

    Any sign of positive or neutral and you say “so what”.

    I like a man who knows where he stands on things. :)

    oh god that sums up my entire history arguing with scotsman.

    hey scotsman, the ADP data came out today? you didn’t rush and post it?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  59. 59
    Yakima_Hick says:

    Hey what happen to Sniglet? Did he finally cracked because his 80% drop in housing didn’t come true?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  60. 60
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 58

    No point in posting the ADP numbers- they show seasonal strength- just like they do every year. This year they are a bit better because of the way the calendar worked out- December’s numbers caught the tail end of November’s TG hiring by small businesses for the holidays and showed an even bigger bump for the last month. Here’s some reality, from the Labor Department, for November. I doubt the economy has suddenly seen a surging recovery:

    “WASHINGTON — Unemployment rates rose in more than two-thirds of the nation’s largest metro areas in November, a sharp reversal from the previous month and the most since June.

    The Labor Department says unemployment rates rose in 258 of the 372 largest cities, fell in 88 and remained the same in 26. That’s worse than the previous month, when the rate fell in 200 areas and rose in 108.

    ..The economy is strengthening, but employers have been reluctant to create jobs. Hiring will pick up in 2011, but not enough to significantly lower the unemployment rate, economists forecast.

    Many laid-off workers are giving up. In states such as Michigan, unemployment rates are falling because more people have stopped looking for work. Once they do, the government no longer counts them as unemployed.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40912172/ns/business-stocks_and_economy/

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  61. 61
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Yakima_Hick @ 57

    How upside down are you? At least Magnolia 44 has the guts to man up and admit his position after initially fighting it.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  62. 62
    Scotsman says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 55

    Yup, you were right and I was wrong- the Dow has exceeded even my old drug fueled hallucinations. Silly me, I believed BB when he said he wouldn’t monetize the debt, and all his other lies. But rest assured his dramatic end has only been delayed. Will he get away with QE3 in 6-11, or will a change in political mood reign him in? Don’t doubt for a minute that as soon as the funny money stops flowing the market crashes, and there’s no way current P/Es can compete with soaring interest rates.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  63. 63
    Jonness says:

    By One Eyed Man @ 41:

    Real estate may be less fungible than securities and traded in a slower moving market place with much higher transaction costs, but it’s been subject to much higher than normal volatility in the last few years as have the securities markets.

    I agree. And the cost to the taxpayers to get here has been unprecedented. We’ve yet to see what will happen when the training wheels are pulled out from under the economy as a whole. Allow the tax cuts to expire. Privatize Fannie and Freddie. Balance the deficit. Pay down the Debt. It’s so impossible at this point in time that it’s laughable.

    Given the level of government interference, this level of volatility is no surprise. Greed and fear are cycling through the market chasing each other’s tail. Nobody can agree on deflation vs inflation, jobs vs no jobs, or house prices going up or down. Yet, some people are claiming we’ve reached the bottom and missed our golden opportunity to buy a house. I don’t believe it for a second. IMO, the party is just getting started, as I don’t believe bandaid’s are going to heal the wounds this time. :)

    Watching the market in the neighborhoods I’m looking to buy, in October, I could see prices falling. the CS confirmed this. I predict it will also confirm my observation of falling prices in November. My girlfriend mentioned she saw a lot of pendings about the time interest rates began to rise. I shrugged it off because I continued to see extreme pain and further slashing of prices in the areas I’m watching. The December CS should prove interesting, as the NWMLS data has proved a surprise to me. But there’s not a snowball’s chance in a very hot place that October or November CS data mark the Seattle bottom. It’s just not going to play out that way. Sure we’ll continue to see volatility mostly resulting from government interference. We’ll probably even see a period of Spring support. But it ain’t over. I think everybody in America realizes this is true. Most people are just too afraid to admit it.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  64. 64
    Daniel says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 41 – For stock markets there is a positive correlation between both the volume and the number of orders and a stocks volatility. As you mention the housing market is rather special though, as most participants are not investors, money is generally borrowed and the volume is low while sales take a considerable time. I have no clue how low volume affects a market like this.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  65. 65
    Daniel says:

    Lets see again what plausible suggestions have been made for the increase in market activity:

    1) A tax or accounting issue.
    This would mean it is a one-time thing possibly even borrowed demand from the next few months. Not a good sign for a recovery.
    2) Increased activity due to higher mortgage rates.
    This also is a one time effect. At the same time housing gets less affordable with higher rates. In the best case rates will decrease again returning to the previous almost flat market.

    It strikes me as odd that Ardell argues 2) but sees it as a sign of a recovered (in the minimal sense of not falling further) housing market.

    With all the bulls and bears here some things to think about:

    1) The crisis originated in the financial sector and with real estate. The car companies had structural issues that had nothing to do with a typical recession. I therefore do not find it surprising at all that some industries/services are still doing great and that this is reflected in the stock market.
    2) None of the fundamental flaws leading to the problems have really been remedied, the flawed systems has merely been patched and the issues brushed over. Anyone thinking the same could not happen again when peoples short memory expires has never studied history: It repeats itself all the time. But even worse: if a system is in its fundamentals (religion-like belief in the ever growing GDP as a measure of well-being) unsustainable, a crash will eventually come even though it may be decades to go.
    3) What happened to people favoring stagnation for the housing market, where prices normalize over one or two decades by for example either growing less than general inflation with a falling standard of living or by growing slower than peoples wages? This was always my favourite way things could play out as it would be the typical “crumbling empire” way. In Austria, where I lived for a while, there are a f%&*load of decadent buildings from the time right before the Austro-Hungarian Empire crumbled. Surely one can find publications from the time boasting about the growth in construction. I sincerely hope the US does not end like that, as we all know the long death of the Austro-Hungarain Empire found its final stage in World War I.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  66. 66
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Daniel @ 65

    Interesting points! I have a somewhat lengthy and probably unoriginal socio-economic theory related to point number two that is more or less based upon an analysis of capitalism as social darwinism. Most americans, including myself, probably agree that the competitive rewards system known as capitalism and the continuing growth of US GDP thru capitalism is the most effective way to insure continuing technological innovation and the industrial production capable to provide individual and national security. That capability growing industrial capability contributed in part to the success of the US in both WWII and the cold war. Technological innovation and growing economic production is the means by which capitalist societies adapt to a changing world to protect themselves and ensure their survival.

    The need for increasing industrial output and GDP is thus driven not just by the desire for 3D TV, SS appliances and granite counter tops, but also by the individual’s instinct for self preservation (thru protection of the individual, the individuals progeny and their current political and economic institutions).

    But there is a ying and yang dimension to the encouragement of innovation by capitalism. On a personal level, the intense drive to compete and produce can be obsessive, stressful and sometimes destructive of personal and family health and relationships. That cost may detract from true quality of life, and may even outweigh for some people the benefits from such a competitive socio-economic system.

    And on a social level, the competetive nature and encouragement of innovation almost insures that the drive to innovate will stumble upon still legitimate but perhaps unfair and inappropriate means to succeed. These innovative means to success will sometimes involve situations where the risks and/or costs of a decision are separated from the rewards. Everyone has now acknowledge that its a bad idea to separate the reward for making liar loans from the true risks of those loans by allowing mortgage bankers to off loading the risks to uniformed 3rd parties in the form of toxic MBS’s. Unfortunately most of America including most of our political and financial leadership failed to recognize the gigantic social risk created by that problem in the early 2000’s.

    Capitalist are sometimes rewarded to identify and exploit such situations. And in a capitalist economic system, someone will always look for and try to exploit situations in which the true costs (and risks) of the product are externalized from the producer to create the all important alpha that capitalists seek. When mortgage bankers can legally make money by selling securities to fund highly risky mortgages because the system doesn’t properly value the risks, they will do it.

    Conclusion: Capitalism can effectively fulfill the human instinct for survival by insuring strength thru innovation. But it also helps on occassion to promote innovations that are anti-social and that will put the system at risk by rewarding the discovery of ways to disassociate risk from reward and to externalize costs of any product to create an increased alpha.

    The pattern of occassional crashes (and systemic risk) in a capitalist economy will probably always continue because people will be rewarded to discover, encourage and exploit mismatches in the risk and rewards of the societies economic decisions. The result can be a huge inappropriate allocation of capital for the purchase of granite counter tops and SS appliances by people who can’t legitimately afford them. If those decisions affect a large enough segment of society to endanger the continued flow of commerce they will be called “systemic” and may require a bailout. The attempts to fix the problem will always deal with the mechanism of the last big problem. Inventive capitalists will always find new arguably legitimate ways to externalize costs and/or risk to create mismatches of risk and reward that insure they capture the alpha and may on occassion create huge externalized costs that are potentially “systemic risks”.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  67. 67

    By deejayoh @ 36:

    By ARDELL @ 30:
    RE: deejayoh @ 24

    Current December closed sales of SFH in King is 43% higher than December of 2008. That’s a pretty big deal. I think some are upset that they didn’t fall off a cliff without the tax credit. It proves the tax credit worked when the training wheels came off. Some did not want that result.

    um, vs. two years ago? who makes this sort of comparison?

    In Ardell’s defense, if you look at the yearly totals of sales for 2008, 2009 and 2010, there was a slight increase each year. And the same holds true for each December, although the jump up from 2008 to 2009 was huge because December 2008 was pretty bad.

    I’m not really sure that shows that the tax credit worked, but it does call into question how much future demand the tax credit stole. Maybe houses are more like cars than I thought. Or it could simply be lower prices mean higher demand.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  68. 68

    By Jonness @ 38:Put another way, in the world of data analysis, a single value does not imply a long-term trend.

    Jonness, this isn’t directed at you, but that’s what’s done here. Take one month of data and try to extrapolate that in a straight line to zero or infinity! ;-)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  69. 69

    By One Eyed Man @ 41:

    I assume that if I’m correct, there’s probably some form of statistical law (probably not a mathematical theorem, but maybe) confirming that these statistical surprises are more likely to be irrelevant volatility (noise) in this setting than in a more normal market setting.

    You could determine the standard deviation, which is something I don’t know how to do off the top of my head. Or you could do a three month moving average. For 2010 the TMMA for King County was:

    375000 Jan 10
    376000
    371750
    371750
    373750
    379000
    387316.67
    387650
    386633.33
    378316.67
    371633.33
    368316.67 Dec 10 (for comparision 12/11 was 375,833.33)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  70. 70
    Yakima_Hick says:

    For all the haters, you already missed the bottom.

    The mortgage rate has shot up from 4% to 5%, even with price staying absolutely flat (it will likely increase just a little over the years), the cost of ownership will increase by tens if not hundreds of thousands.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  71. 71

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 43 – I’d ask her why she thinks it’s a good thing she doesn’t have to comply with the NAR code of ethics?

    http://www.realtor.org/mempolweb.nsf/pages/code

    When you’re a member of NAR in Seattle you can get fined/sanctioned by the NWMLS, the Washington DOL and by SCKAR. There are some things that only SCKAR would find a violation (and some only DOL would, etc.).

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  72. 72

    RE: Scotsman @ 62

    This Will Put a Wrench in the Whole Pipe Dream Bottom Callers’ Allegations

    If we don’t get the Tea Party controlled Congress to approve a federal debt ceiling raise by March 2011, it’s over folks….all bets are off. Might as well join the Bubblebrains’ herb party, because wild-eyed predictions and waving your hands in the air will all be a moot point with mass government budget butcher axing [even that “Holy Mortgage Interest Deduction” is on the “Tea Party Chopping Block” folks].

    The December numbers party would be over, time to clean up the mess.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/political-economy/2011/01/us_will_reach_debt_ceiling_at.html?hpid=topnews

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  73. 73

    By One Eyed Man @ 56:

    Just so you know, I’ve got a brokers license and am a member of NAR although I refuse to pay their voluntary PAC contributions. I tend to vote against most of what they promote.

    BTW, for the record, I’m not a big fan of NAR, but I do like most of what WR does, and am not familiar enough with SKCAR to have an opinion either way. WR has actually supported legislation like requiring CO detectors (although personally I think that’s sort of stupid in an all electric house since the battery would probably be dead in any power outage if the resident is also stupid enough to try to use some CO producing device inside their house).

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  74. 74

    RE: softwarengineer @ 72 – The Congress is hardly controlled by the Tea Party.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  75. 75

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 74

    The Senate is and it takes both. A good portion of the Congress’ Blue Dog Democrats have gone Red Dog lately too.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  76. 76

    RE: softwarengineer @ 75 – You think there are 40 or more Tea Party Senators? That’s a pretty good trick considering only 33 or 34 Senator races were held in 2010.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  77. 77

    By deejayoh @ 29:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 26:
    In the open thread I asked Tim to explain just what that first Altos graph is. Pretty clearly it’s not the list price of SFR in Seattle, unless somehow the list price in Seattle is lower than the rest of King County. Also, the countywide data of list price doesn’t show anywhere near the same rate of decrease from November to December.

    If you click on the chart and then click on the “explain this” on their site it is median price for listings. http://www.altosresearch.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=71

    Not sure where one gets median price for King county listings but I would assume it is lower than seattle as well.

    That seems to just define median, and indicates that they follow certain zip codes, but does not indicate the zip codes. Given the price action they have showing up, that doesn’t seem to show up anywhere else, I find the results suspect.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  78. 78

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 76

    It’s Not Control Kary, Its Directional Control

    The same thing happenned to Clinton’s/Bush’s/Reagon’s deficit(s) in the 80s/90s, a 3rd party called Ross Perot popped through the cracks and gave dire predictions [true, IMO too] of the uncontrolled federal deficit and the need for budget cuts….it worked, for a while anyway.

    BTW, the federal deficit is FAR worse today than then.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  79. 79
    sallybuttons says:

    RE: Yakima_Hick @ 70 – Looking hard for the ignore-this-latest-dope button.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  80. 80
    deejayoh says:

    By Yakima_Hick @ 70:

    For all the haters, you already missed the bottom.

    The mortgage rate has shot up from 4% to 5%, even with price staying absolutely flat (it will likely increase just a little over the years), the cost of ownership will increase by tens if not hundreds of thousands.

    If you are going to try to flame a thread, at least try to pick an argument that Tim hasn’t mocked mercilessly….

    http://seattlebubble.com/blog/2010/04/08/interest-rates-skyrocket-everybody-panic/

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  81. 81
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 60:

    RE: pfft @ 58

    No point in posting the ADP numbers- they show seasonal strength- just like they do every year. This year they are a bit better because of the way the calendar worked out- December’s numbers caught the tail end of November’s TG hiring by small businesses for the holidays and showed an even bigger bump for the last month. Here’s some reality, from the Labor Department, for November. I doubt the economy has suddenly seen a surging recovery:

    “WASHINGTON â�� Unemployment rates rose in more than two-thirds of the nation’s largest metro areas in November, a sharp reversal from the previous month and the most since June.

    The Labor Department says unemployment rates rose in 258 of the 372 largest cities, fell in 88 and remained the same in 26. That’s worse than the previous month, when the rate fell in 200 areas and rose in 108.

    ..The economy is strengthening, but employers have been reluctant to create jobs. Hiring will pick up in 2011, but not enough to significantly lower the unemployment rate, economists forecast.

    Many laid-off workers are giving up. In states such as Michigan, unemployment rates are falling because more people have stopped looking for work. Once they do, the government no longer counts them as unemployed.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40912172/ns/business-stocks_and_economy/

    so the ADP report doesn’t say what you want it to so you ignore it and post some other bearish data.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  82. 82
    Ben says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 77 – “Given the price action they have showing up, that doesn’t seem to show up anywhere else, I find the results suspect.”

    Where else are you looking? Higher frequency data sources Altos and Housingtracker point significantly down. Lower frequency data sources CoreLogic and Case Shiller point significantly down.

    Other than one source provided by NAR and Ardell’s word, what else do you have? Just curious. Really..I’m not trying to be argumentative, just well informed.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  83. 83
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 60

    As I mentioned on an earlier thread, TrimTabs says BLS put in an estimate of about one million in seasonal hiring for November that they say overstated seasonality by a huge number (I think over 50K). Two years ago on the way down, TrimTabs said BLS was understating the job losses and TrimTabs was right.

    I don’t know if BLS or TrimTabs will be closer to the correct trend this time, but in the interim you do seem to be chosing to acknowledge only the data that supports your Bearish thesis. While its true that the TrimTabs estimates and the BLS estimates are statistically derived estimates and not “facts,” I think I’m inclined to wait to see what the numbers eventually say rather than to go to bed content that Dewey wins.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  84. 84
    Yakima_Hick says:

    Not everyone believes the surge is real. Tim Ellis, who writes the bearish Seattle Bubble real-estate blog, repeated a criticism he has said before — that the listing service allows member agents to input sales into its system long after they actually close.

    The December spike is so unprecedented that it strains credulity, Ellis said: At least some sales reported last month may actually have occurred months earlier.

    The listing service says it has reported sales the same way for two decades, and its statistics are accurate.<< This is so funny! Typical bubblebrain mentality. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2013850683_homesales06.html

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  85. 85

    RE: Ben @ 82 – I have access to the NWMLS system directly, so I can do my own calculations. I’ve also looked at the County-wide data that the NWMLS publishes each month on active listings (unfortunately the breakout numbers don’t have the median active). Countywide the median of active listings was approximately $370,000 in November and $350,000 in December. That’s a much lower drop than the basically $375,000 to $340,000 in the first graph, but that difference is not so much the concern as is the relative number given the representation being that it’s Seattle. When I run the current numbers for Seattle only, it’s basically at the top of the range of numbers above. I would expect the median in Seattle to be higher than the median for King County.

    Some numbers from NWMLS sources, but some not compiled and none guaranteed by the NWMLS.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  86. 86

    RE: Yakima_Hick @ 84 – Under the old system I don’t think even agents could easily determine roughly how many listings entered were stale, but more to the point, it wasn’t all that important or obvious except when declining volume and a surge in late postings coincided with the switchover to the new system.

    I would agree with Tim though that it would be better to only include December sales in December stats. I would simply add the late reported to the YTD numbers. That way the numbers on the month would be accurate (subject to some sales not being reported), but the monthly volume totals would not add up to the YTD figure. Note though that the way it is done you don’t know what the impact is of the late reporting. Last November it drove the median down considerably, and in December slightly, IMHO. I sort of doubt it ever increases the median because I suspect fewer of the late reported properties tend to be upper end properties, non-REOs, etc.

    Also, I think the NMWLS should establish an automatic fine for late reporting to try to reduce the numbers.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  87. 87
    Greenwoodian says:

    I would just like to point out that basic values and goals are not shared by every home buyer. On seattlebubble, the prevailing sentiment is that purchasing a home is first and foremost an investment, and that anyone who buys a home for any other reason is some sort of drooling moron.

    Some people value quality of life for their families, believe home ownership contributes to that goal, and don’t get their panties in a twist agonizing over how they might save a few dollars by postponing buying a house for the next half-decade.

    So feel free to gloat about how smart you all are as you obsess over the DOW and concoct ridiculous economic theories that you will disavow, revise, and lie about when reality fails to validate you as an economic genius. I’ll be out in my big back yard living my life, throwing sticks for the dog and watching thekids play while the steaks sizzle on the grill.

    Bottom line: some people are obsessed with stacking money, some people just see money as a means to an end. I’m not so sure the former group needs to be so snotty toward the latter. We don’t all have dreams of swimming in the money vault like Scrooge McDuck.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  88. 88
    The Tim says:

    By Greenwoodian @ 87:

    I would just like to point out that basic values and goals are not shared by every home buyer. On seattlebubble, the prevailing sentiment is that purchasing a home is first and foremost an investment, and that anyone who buys a home for any other reason is some sort of drooling moron.

    Wow, that strikes me as a really odd take on the sentiment here. I know I have personally made statements here that promote the exact opposite view.

    On the About page:

    The most important thing to remember is that the decision of whether or not to buy is a personal one that only you can make. Don’t let a blog or a real estate salesman make that decision for you. Consider all the options and risks, and make an informed decision based on your unique circumstances. If you find a home that you love, at a price that you’re comfortable paying (i.e. – you wouldn’t be upset if the price dropped another 10-20%), and you plan to live there for a long time, then go for it. If you are looking at a home as a place to invest your money, then you should probably reconsider.

    On the recent post Analyze a “Below-Market” Deal: Conclusion:

    It’s only a great time to buy when your personal finances, your stage in life, and the right home at the right price all come together at the same time.

    Would you mind providing some examples of statements by me or the commenters here that lead you to the conclusion that you described above?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  89. 89

    RE: Greenwoodian @ 87 – Good post, although I don’t agree with every word.

    It does raise a suggestion for Tim though. How about a poll on how many times SB readers have moved since the start date of SB, or a poll on how long have you lived at your current address, perhaps even broken out by owner/renter? I would suspect that the “average” SB reader is much more mobile than average.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  90. 90

    By The Tim @ 88:

    By Greenwoodian @ 87:
    I would just like to point out that basic values and goals are not shared by every home buyer. On seattlebubble, the prevailing sentiment is that purchasing a home is first and foremost an investment, and that anyone who buys a home for any other reason is some sort of drooling moron.

    Wow, that strikes me as a really odd take on the sentiment here. I know I have personally made statements here that promote the exact opposite view.

    I would agree with both of you on that. Greenwoodian is expressing what many readers here do express, but that doesn’t necessarily match with the views that you (Tim) express.

    Stated differently, you (Tim) don’t seem to view home ownership and when to buy as being solely an economic decision, like some here.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  91. 91
    Blake says:

    Interesting discussions… A few comments:
    1. re: Dec sales blip
    People shouldn’t try to read too much into any monthly figure. a. the data may be bad and artefactual (i.e. banks closing out their books) b. it’s highly volatile. People should pull back and look at the larger trends and fundamentals… which are not good.
    http://www.nber.org/papers/w14656
    -snip- Aftermath of Financial Crises… On a peak-to-trough basis, real housing price declines average 35 percent stretched out over six years,
    >> six years … we’re still in the 5th or 6th inning folks!

    2. re: The Dow and stock market prices
    The Dow is just 30 huge, international corps with significant profits coming from int’l ops. Many of these are increasingly detached from the US economy and the prices of their stocks are driven foreigners buying US stocks – – enormous US current account deficits create US $’s that need something to buy… other than US debt! Also: the corps have record cash and are borrowing $ cheap and buying back their own stock!

    Don’t be fooled by asset and commodity price bubbles. One of the primary effects of the Fed’s supply-side stimulus attempts is to inflate bubbles. (There are food riots in Algeria and around the world due to the spikes in commodity/food prices… really horrible.) But this will not help the RE market which takes a much longer time to reach a market clearing price (esp when demand is slack) and has high transaction costs… sticky prices and stubborn sellers.
    In sum: The Dow, gold, corn, oil, and copper may go up and up, but that does not mean the economy is healthy – – in fact much of it may be bad for the economy. Real estate will continue to be a huge drag on the economy for several more years at least and home owner debt burden will suppress consumer spending.
    ** I’m not into calling bottoms, but I will say – “we’re not there yet!”

    I’ll also repeat what I’ve written a few times: For the US economy, this decade will be “lost” just as Japan’s 1990’s… and the year is only 2011, so be patient ;-) We’ll be lucky if by 2018 we get unemployment down below 7%, sustained growth above 3%, and the US $ still the reserve currency. I don’t think I’m a Bear, just realistic. (I’ll wager that we’ll have another financial crisis – perhaps even worse than the last – within 5 years. Too much $$s, speculation, and fraud.)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  92. 92
    Blake says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 89
    I’ve been renting the same place for 3 years… it’s nice and a good deal.
    But, I hope to buy a house by the end of 2011, knowing that it may go down another 10% or more. Tim’s right… it is not really an economic decision: I don’t see it as an investment, I like gardening, woodworking and fixing up houses!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  93. 93
    Greenwoodian says:

    RE: The Tim @ 88

    I apologize for not being more clear. Yes, The Tim, you have repeatedly made the case that homeownership is a personal decision made for many reasons, but that doesn’t mean the rank and file regulars on the site follow your lead.

    Without spending a lot of time searching out quotes (there are many), here is one from this very thread, in response to ARDELL’s claim that the tax credit had at least a tangential effect in curtailing the housing market crash:

    “What you are describing appears to be a one time event that lured the least intelligent fence sitters into the market in a giddy, “shucks, I should have jumped at 3.875%” moment.”

    So, in essence, the poster is implying that only morons would make a decision to purchase a house at this time (and it bears mentioning that the response above wasn’t even directly related to a comment on the interest rate–but instead to the idea that people were buying enough homes to keep the market rolling along without training wheels).

    For some pepole who were ready to buy in the relatively near future, it might have made sense to lock in a lower rate instead of waiting another 5 years for the market to slowly deflate back to where they would save money at a higher rate. Maybe they had other reasons, who knows?

    All that said, seattlebubble is a valuable resource, and one that I valued when making my purchase decision. I waited for many years before buying, and when I did buy a home last March, I did it knowing full well that its value would likely continue to decline. For what its worth, it is currently valued at more than I paid for it (at least according to Zillow and my layman’s comparison to comps). I rebuilt my back deck with the credit (something I might not have felt as financially comfortable doing without it), and I have no regrets. We love our home, it’s features greatly enhance our day-to-day lives, and if it ends up costing me an extra couple grand a year than it would if I waited another 5 years, I’m cool with that. YMMV.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  94. 94
    Greenwoodian says:

    I’d also like to offer a possible theory on the December spike. I think there are a lot of fence-sitters who have now been watching from the sidelines for YEARS as their nesteggs grew and prices first spiraled out of control and then crashed back to earth.

    I think it is possible that many of these people are to the point where they have deferred their desire to purchase a home (or trade up) for far longer than they ever anticipated. They’re now sitting on a sizable pile of cash (which has been steadily growing as they played the waiting game), they may have started families in the interim, and they’re far past ready to pull the trigger. Seeing interest rates begin to rise may have been the final straw where they just said to themselves (like I did), that they valued home ownership more than squeezing every last dollar out of the home buying process, and that this deflation is going to be years more in the offing. So they went for it.

    It’s a theory anyway (and probably one based far too closely on my own experience), but I suspect it has at least a small effect…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  95. 95
    Scotsman says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 83RE: pfft @ 81

    You both crack me up. I’m not looking for bearish support, I’m looking for reality. I think it would be great if the economy came roaring back. My businesses would do better, I could start some new projects, life would be good. I don’t see any support for that though. When the ADP number came out I was pretty surprised, took the time to look into it and came away less than impressed. As OE points out it’s projection, not a hard count. We’ll see what comes out Friday, and then what the revisions are. The reason I posted the link I did wasn’t because I’m stuck on the bearish position, but because it clearly contradicts what ADP was trying to sell. Checks and balances.

    Believe me, when I think things have really turned around I’ll spout that just as loudly.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  96. 96
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 71

    I’ll assume that was a joke. A person’s ethics does not contract and expand based on paying a $500 a month fee to “have them”.

    For those asking about the spike with regard to short sales and foreclosures, October which had more sales than November overall, had 21% SS+BO. October had 24% and December had 29%.

    The direct increase in December from November looking at only the SS+BO and not their % of Total Sales was a 53% increase in the subject class, that being King County, SFH, excluding townhomes and houseboats and mobile homes, closed transactions.

    Looking at Bank-Owned alone there was a 61% increase, so it will be interesting to see how that affects January and 1st quarter if the primary reason for the increase was to close the books on as many as possible in 2010 by year end.

    If you remove the SS+BO from Total closings for both November and December, the 26% increase reduces to 18%. I’ll check that again around the 10th or so of Jan when I’m comfortable that all December postings are in.

    Recap – Post says 33% increase. I see 26% increase for King SFH and without the Bank Owned and Short Sale closings the increase is 18%.

    **
    (required disclosure) The above numbers are hand calculated by ARDELL and are not compiled, verified or posted by The Northwest Mulitple Listing Service)

    One of the reasons I sometimes put a link over to the numbers on my blog vs posting the numbers in a comment, is an mls rule regarding the above disclosure. Sorry to be redundant in posting that disclosure, but it is a mandatory requirement for mls members when posting data vs commentary.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  97. 97
    Scotsman says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 96

    So, I was largely correct (see post #10)- banks pushing to unload inventory/losses onto their 2010 books. What will the first quarter of 2011 bring? Who knows what the current strategy is from the banker’s perspective.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  98. 98
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 95:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 83RE: pfft @ 81

    You both crack me up. I’m not looking for bearish support, I’m looking for reality. I think it would be great if the economy came roaring back. My businesses would do better, I could start some new projects, life would be good. I don’t see any support for that though. When the ADP number came out I was pretty surprised, took the time to look into it and came away less than impressed. As OE points out it’s projection, not a hard count. We’ll see what comes out Friday, and then what the revisions are. The reason I posted the link I did wasn’t because I’m stuck on the bearish position, but because it clearly contradicts what ADP was trying to sell. Checks and balances.

    Believe me, when I think things have really turned around I’ll spout that just as loudly.

    this is absurd. you are always posting the ADP report. you just throw whatever bearish data point of the week is up here.

    by the way the recession has been over for over 16 months.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  99. 99
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 98

    “by the way the recession has been over for over 16 months”

    Tell that to the millions of unemployed/underemployed and the ever increasing number who are losing their homes, as well as the millions who will be laid off from or suffer reductions in pay/hours worked at their state, county, and city jobs as 2011 budgets come into play What an a@s.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  100. 100
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 97

    I don’t think the December numbers are of particular value from a bull vs bear perspective. It’s the full quarter’s numbers that create the picture, not December. December only looks so very up because November was down. Compared to October, December is ho-hum who cares.

    For the record I’m still bearish and expect another flat to slightly up year. But I’m waiting for final numbers of December postings to do my full predictions.

    I’m more concerned about people using the wrong valuation techniques when making offers than “the market” in general, since there is no dramatic push up or down on prices since early 2009. Once we were 22% down…the changes were inconsequential for most buyers and sellers of homes vs market voyeurs.

    The only movement created has been in small subsets, based on what and where, and the % of bank-owneds and short sales nearby. That is why North King and Eastside where I work is hugely different form Pierce, Snohomish and South King County. They can’t be all lumped together as a consensus outlook.

    A parlor trick of sorts is that any year where year end December median is higher than first month median of 12 months before is usually an up year by about the same amount. So starting at $375,000 and ending at $375,000, which is about where we were before the December late postings, would mean next year will be flat. At best we’re looking at a 5% up or down either way which is a reasonable expectation of ANY year and not worth considerable “study”.

    Like I said before…once I called “bottom” in early 2009 just before we hit it…there has been no real movement. Only seasonal variance. I don’t expect that to change in 2011. We’ll start lower than December median, we’ll go up in the Spring and Summer, and back down in 4th quarter. Same as 2009 and 2010. 2011 should be no different unless some new information presents itself in the interim.

    That puts the buyer of a home in the terrible position of making a wise choice of home and what to pay for it. The market won’t “cover” their errors.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  101. 101
    ARDELL says:

    At least 5% of the differential could simply be November was short and December was inflated because of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILDOqppQL-U

    Some late November closings pushed into early December. I know you hate “weather” reasons…but weather can be a considerable issue when you can’t get up into Queen Anne :) November is already a short business day month due to Thanksgiving and it being a 30 day month. So a November 30 closing pushing to December 1 to 5 is not uncommon.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  102. 102
    ARDELL says:

    RE: pfft @ 98

    It’s not “absurd”…it’s who he chooses to be. Nothing wrong with that. Stop letting it get under your skin and accept it. :)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  103. 103
    Daniel says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 66 – My main point was not a criticism of capitalism. I however have to comment on what you describe as the need for innovation.

    1) Science spending in the US is down as a percentage of GDP, both in industry and public spending.
    2) Both US and international patent law are hopelessly broken. Instead of encouraging innovation as much as possible it more and more serves to defend big players from real innovation.
    3) The whole notion of intellectual property is pretty close to the notion of a “thought crime”. This also discourages innovation quite heavily.

    Two examples:
    a) In the early 19th century, England already had a strong copyright law and publishers were so rich they displayed their wealth with ornamented carriages. In Germany there was no copyright and it had the highest density of printing presses and the most books sold per capita. This challenges many peoples ides about copyright being vital for innovation. The subsequent economic development was that England started to play a much lesser role (The British Empire declined) and that Germany gained economic power but squandered the prospects in needless wars.
    b) The fact that China ignores “the rules” has pushed more innovation in the last years than our outdated and industry oriented patent law. 95% of all patents today are on trivialities that never were intended to be patentable when the system was introduced. Their main purpose is legal leverage for large firms and this discourages innovation greatly.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  104. 104

    By ARDELL @ 96:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 71 – I’ll assume that was a joke. A person’s ethics does not contract and expand based on paying a $500 a month fee to “have them”..

    No, but it won’t affect your ethics, but your behavior will change if you’re subject to being fined/sanctioned!

    In that regard, you’ve argued in the past that short sale status should not have to be disclosed by a listing agent or seller. Not doing so would probably get you in trouble with all three entities (NWMLS, DOL and SKCAR). I’m sure I could come up with some issue where SKCAR would be the only entity to punish you for a certain activity. And I suspect a consumer would prefer to have a choice of entities to pick to complain through if they had a complaint about their agent.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  105. 105
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 99:

    RE: pfft @ 98

    “by the way the recession has been over for over 16 months”

    Tell that to the millions of unemployed/underemployed and the ever increasing number who are losing their homes, as well as the millions who will be laid off from or suffer reductions in pay/hours worked at their state, county, and city jobs as 2011 budgets come into play What an a@s.

    I didn’t say anything about the unemployed. way to prove my point again.

    by the way the unemployment rate peaked more than a year ago. the private sector added 1,000,000 jobs last year. your beloved austerity at the state and local level is holding back the economy. you should love this economy. it’s what you want. austerity.

    the scotsman economy.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  106. 106

    By ARDELL @ 96:

    RE:For those asking about the spike with regard to short sales and foreclosures, October which had more sales than November overall, had 21% SS+BO. October had 24% and December had 29%.

    I’m showing slightly different numbers, and would note that October was down as a percentage mainly because total sales were up. By my calculations, less than 150 of the increase in December was due to REOs and short sales. If you’re just looking at the increase from October, that could be most of it, but it’s not if you look at the other months.

    Estimate from NWMLS sources but not compiled or guaranteed by the NWMLS.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  107. 107
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 104

    Kary…if the seller is bringing the difference to the table…it is not a short sale, even if the payoff is short. As long as the seller pays the amount at closing, not a matter of disclosure. It is not “subject to lienholder approval”.

    If it is a short sale…you check a box.

    Pretty simple stuff, Kary. Not rocket science or ethics.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  108. 108

    By ARDELL @ 107:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 104

    Kary…if the seller is bringing the difference to the table…it is not a short sale, even if the payoff is short. As long as the seller pays the amount at closing, not a matter of disclosure. It is not “subject to lienholder approval”.

    If it is a short sale…you check a box.

    Pretty simple stuff, Kary. Not rocket science or ethics.

    Not sure what that has to do with anything. I agree it’s not a short sale if the seller has the funds to close. If it’s not a short sale there’s nothing to to be disclosed and no “box to check.”

    Your position before was that short sales should not have to be disclosed to the general public or the even the buyers agents because it put the seller at a disadvantage. That position would get you in trouble with all three entities mentioned if you followed through on it as an agent and didn’t disclose a short sale as such. If you were not a “Realtor” then that position would only get you in trouble with two entities.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  109. 109
    Daniel says:

    RE: pfft @ 105 – 1 million new jobs? from 2000 to 2010 the census shows a population growth of 27 million. Lets be conservative and neglect the exponential nature assuming that in the last year the population grew by 2.7 million people. A conservative estimate for the labor force would be 50% (the 2009 estimate was 154.2 million and the 2010 census shows 308.7 million people living in the US). With this assumption and the assumption that the percentage of the labor force did not change significantly in a single year roughly (1.35 million – 0.135 million) new jobs would be needed to compensate for population growth. I subtracted 135k as labor force by definition includes the unemployed. With other words: Anything below 1.2 million is not a success story at all.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  110. 110

    RE: Daniel @ 109 – I would agree not to be excited about a million new jobs, but I’m not sure your analysis is correct. The illegal worker population and flow rate probably looked a lot different before 2007 than it did after.

    Which reminds me of a West Wing story line from near the end of that series. They basically pointed out that the reason for the inflow from Mexico was that our economy was so much better. The solution they proposed though was different than what occurred in real life. They didn’t propose making our economy more like Mexico’s! ;-)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  111. 111
    Fran Tarkenton says:

    Interesting quote from the NYT this afternoon that relates to the “increasing mortgage rates mean that you are priced out forever, but no one else is, since you’re the only one who isn’t buying with cash” discussion that’s upthread somewhere:

    “For every percentage point rise in rates, 300,000 to 400,000 would-be buyers historically are priced out of the market in a given year, according to the National Association of Realtors. ”

    They don’t show their work, so take it for what you will.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/realestate/mortgages/09mort.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  112. 112
    Daniel says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 110 – I agree that illegal workers do not show up in some places but their influence is hard to gauge. For one illegals are to a large part already excluded from my calculation as they are also excluded from the work force percentage. I agree that some effects remains if illegal immigration got more prevalent in recent years. The goal of my back of the envelope estimate is simply to illustrate that 1 million is not a success.

    Lets make sort of a worst case scenario and exclude a high-estimate of illegals from above calculation in addition to assuming a small workforce: out of above numbers migration is roughly 44%, the rest is internal population growth. Lets assume half of immigration is illegal, which would mean only 0.5*0.78*2.7=1.05 million workforce, which leads to roughly 950k jobs needed to break even.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  113. 113
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 108

    Kary…your memory is simply incorrect or it is so far back that there was no box to check if it were a short sale.

    The only other possible explanation for your insane rantings is if the list price clears the table and the offer price doesn’t.

    Either way…it’s a dumb conversation when we are talking about the real estate market and “off topic”. Put it back in your grudge box.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  114. 114
    Ross says:

    By Scotsman @ 99:

    RE: pfft @ 98

    “by the way the recession has been over for over 16 months”

    Tell that to the millions of unemployed/underemployed and the ever increasing number who are losing their homes, as well as the millions who will be laid off from or suffer reductions in pay/hours worked at their state, county, and city jobs as 2011 budgets come into play What an a@s.

    By the most widely used definition of a recession – 2 or more months of negative GDP growth, the recession has been over for a while. Of course, if you want to redefine what a recession is, then we can still be in recession. But using a trailing indicator exclusively (such as employment) to measure a recession is also going to make the recession be trailing reality.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  115. 115
    Civil Servant says:

    Regarding the suggestion that some who read this site and post in forums regard buying a house as “solely an economic decision” (Kary @ 90) — I’m just speaking for myself, but I save the teeth-gnashing and agonizing over non-economic factors for when I talk to my friends, who tend to be less well versed in macroeconomics, Case-Shiller data, the use of data in general, etc. than are the fine regulars at Seattle Bubble and better acquainted with me me me. Besides, that subject matter is personal and I suspect a lot of you don’t want to hear it anyway: or, wait, are my reproductive plans actually something you’ve been aching to know? Just because you don’t have evidence of something does not mean it doesn’t exist.

    I also have a lot of friends who have bought houses over the past several years and regret it because they are underwater and/or because they couldn’t sell and break even, they are locked for a long time into what was supposed to be a starter house. One of my good friends is facing up to the fact that a short sale is inevitable for her, and I suspect another one will get to that point soon. When I talk about house stuff with them I feel guilty, as though I am eating ice cream in front of Roger Ebert and telling him how delicious it is. Honestly I don’t have that many venues in which to discuss the economic aspects of buying or not buying a house *except* places like this. I don’t care if people think I have a calculator for a heart, because I know I don’t.

    Greenwoodian, your house sounds great. Congratulations on a well-thought-out purchase.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  116. 116
    pfft says:

    By Daniel @ 109:

    RE: pfft @ 105 – 1 million new jobs? from 2000 to 2010 the census shows a population growth of 27 million. Lets be conservative and neglect the exponential nature assuming that in the last year the population grew by 2.7 million people. A conservative estimate for the labor force would be 50% (the 2009 estimate was 154.2 million and the 2010 census shows 308.7 million people living in the US). With this assumption and the assumption that the percentage of the labor force did not change significantly in a single year roughly (1.35 million – 0.135 million) new jobs would be needed to compensate for population growth. I subtracted 135k as labor force by definition includes the unemployed. With other words: Anything below 1.2 million is not a success story at all.

    compared to what we had in 08 and 09 it is. a real stimulus plan would have created millions more jobs too.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  117. 117
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 116RE: Ross @ 114

    I understand that by strict definition the recession is over. Whoop-de-do. And maybe for those who navigate by looking in the rear view mirror it means everything is now fine. Yup, as soon as those pesky “lagging indicators” catch up with the powerful recovery we’re experiencing everything will be OK. Good luck with that- it’s going to be a long wait for the laggers.

    What very few seem to understand is that the unemployment number is comprised of both a numerator and a denominator, and that it’s possible to make the number/percentage appear to reduce by changing either of the two components- number employed and number of potential employees. Most of the “reduction” in unemployment hasn’t been because of new hires, but because of a redefining of the potential pool as the chronically unemployed drop off the rolls. In short, the reporting of reduced unemployment is nothing but a mathematical manipulation.

    We need to add 100,000+ jobs a month, or 1.2 million a year, just to break even with population growth. We haven’t even been doing that. The percentage of the population that works has been continuing to decline. That is not a recovery, lagging or not. And this isn’t a “bear” perspective- it’s a fact.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  118. 118
    Ross says:

    By Scotsman @ 117:

    RE: pfft @ 116RE: Ross @ 114

    I understand that by strict definition the recession is over. Whoop-de-do. And maybe for those who navigate by looking in the rear view mirror it means everything is now fine. Yup, as soon as those pesky “lagging indicators” catch up with the powerful recovery we’re experiencing everything will be OK. Good luck with that- it’s going to be a long wait for the laggers.

    What very few seem to understand is that the unemployment number is comprised of both a numerator and a denominator, and that it’s possible to make the number/percentage appear to reduce by changing either of the two components- number employed and number of potential employees. Most of the “reduction” in unemployment hasn’t been because of new hires, but because of a redefining of the potential pool as the chronically unemployed drop off the rolls. In short, the reporting of reduced unemployment is nothing but a mathematical manipulation.

    We need to add 100,000+ jobs a month, or 1.2 million a year, just to break even with population growth. We haven’t even been doing that. The percentage of the population that works has been continuing to decline. That is not a recovery, lagging or not. And this isn’t a “bear” perspective- it’s a fact.

    We’ll see. I agree that employment is one of the most important political measures of the health of the economy and that official statistics are more complicated that one would hope they’d be. However, jobs can start coming back suddenly and in big numbers – that is what has happened in prior recessions. Things can look pretty bleak in the employment figures and then suddenly big hiring starts happening. I’m not predicting that will happen tomorrow, but other forward indicators of the economy are looking up – retail sales, lending, stock market etc.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  119. 119

    RE: Civil Servant @ 115
    You don’t have a calculator for a heart.
    I was curious about your remark concerning Roger Ebert and ice cream. I thought I remembered that he’d had a heart attack, but in fact it was cancer . He lost much of his jaw in cancer surgery and can’t eat. He wrote a cookbook even though he doesn’t eat. And he still writes movie reviews, and no doubt fantasizes about ice cream.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  120. 120

    By ARDELL @ 113:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 108

    Kary…your memory is simply incorrect or it is so far back that there was no box to check if it were a short sale.

    The only other possible explanation for your insane rantings is if the list price clears the table and the offer price doesn’t.

    Either way…it’s a dumb conversation when we are talking about the real estate market and “off topic”. Put it back in your grudge box.

    This is just like your memory on your predictions. Conveniently bad.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  121. 121
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 119

    I know a lawyer who has a heart. He says its been difficult for him and he has to take a handful of anti-rejection drugs every morning since the surgery.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  122. 122

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 104:

    By ARDELL @ 96:
    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 71 – I’ll assume that was a joke. A person’s ethics does not contract and expand based on paying a $500 a month fee to “have them”..

    No, but it won’t affect your ethics, but your behavior will change if you’re subject to being fined/sanctioned!

    In that regard, you’ve argued in the past that short sale status should not have to be disclosed by a listing agent or seller. Not doing so would probably get you in trouble with all three entities (NWMLS, DOL and SKCAR). I’m sure I could come up with some issue where SKCAR would be the only entity to punish you for a certain activity. And I suspect a consumer would prefer to have a choice of entities to pick to complain through if they had a complaint about their agent.

    To help cure Ardell of her memory problems:

    Thread: http://raincityguide.com/2008/10/21/leave-the-gun-take-the-cannoli/

    10/22/08 9:29am

    Before I leave the listing side, I still find it very troubling that all the “rules” force the owner to “show their hand”. Clearly the seller loses ALL leverage once it is disclosed that it is a “short sale”. This to me is INSANE!
    . . .
    Why do we not give the seller the opportunity to “play their cards close to their vest” and how can we say we represent the seller when we do not?

    10/22/08 11:09am

    Clearly Kary…there is NO real rationale justifying the agent for the seller standing on a mountaintop and screaming “distressed property seller over here!” I think you know that, deep down. There are grave consequences to the seller…

    11/22/08 3:15 pm

    A short sale is not a defect of the property like a leaky roof. This issue comes up time and time again. At one point buyers felt that owners with aids should disclose that as a “defect” of the house. That is why the decision of what to disclose must by made from the seller’s position and not the buyer’s, if it is not about the house itself. Buyers would like to know everything, and often feel entitled to know everything, but that is not always the case.

    At 4:32 pm I basically give you the same answer I give in post 108 here–that it’s not a short sale if the seller has other funds.

    It goes on. You were very intense on the issue.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  123. 123
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 122

    LOL Kary…go take a pill and look up “off topic”.

    There’s a simple checkbox for SS. BEFORE there was a simple checkbox, there was an issue. There is NO LONGER an issue because…there is a check box now. There’s a big difference between a checkbox and hanging a big banner on the house.

    Here’s what I always say and it will not change. FIRST I consider the best interest of MY client. Then I consider the general public trust. LAST I consider what other agents like and don’t like.

    I’m always intense…I’m Italian. Get over it.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  124. 124
    Scotsman says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 121

    “I know a lawyer who has a heart”

    OK, so you’re one in a million- and look like Brad Pitt. Don’t brag.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  125. 125
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Ross @ 118

    This time IS different:

    http://i.huffpost.com/gen/224946/JOB-MARKET-CHART.jpg

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  126. 126
  127. 127

    RE: ARDELL @ 123 – Give me a break. You’re honestly trying to argue that you’re okay with checking a box to disclose that something is a short sale, when before you were totally opposed to disclosing in the agent only remarks (only seen by agents) that it was a short sale?

    That’s not the difference in facts that has resulted in your difference of opinion, but just to see you squirm for an explanation, how does checking the box that it’s a short sale reduce a seller’s negotiation position any less than stating in agent-only remarks that it’s a short sale? The answer is it doesn’t, but that you’ve now changed your position for other reasons. You noted above: “A person’s ethics does not contract and expand based on paying a $500 a month fee to ‘have them”. That may be, but apparently they do change for other reasons because you’ve changed your position on this issue. Fortunately you’ve changed in favor of the ethical and legal position of disclosing a material condition, so that’s a good thing.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  128. 128

    What’s with this Ardell and Kary war? Do we need an intervention? Or should we just let them go at it like The Crips and The Bloods? We just don’t want any “innocent” real estate agents caught in the crossfire.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  129. 129
    Blake says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 126
    Everyone should look at and consider those two unemployment/employment charts!! Thanks for posting them Scotsman… incredible…

    And look at the second chart and the ’02-’06 “jobless recovery” that never did return to the levels of employment reached in the late 90s. I recall reading a Businessweek article in late ’07/early ’08 that mentioned that the then economic expansion was the first in US history where real median income did not increase! >50% of Americans did not participate in the recovery – – THEN the financial crisis hit!! SOS…

    Barry’s notes…
    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/01/a-closer-look-at-december-2010-nfp-data/
    The Labor market still faces several major headwinds:
    1. Post credit-crisis recoveries tend to be weak ion terms of both GDP and job creation. This recovery is no different;
    2. States and municipalities face growing budget gaps; they are freezing hiring and cutting headcount.
    3. The Residential Housing market remains somewhat over-priced, with bloated inventory and a disinterested pool of buyers.
    4. Consumers continue to deleverage and add to savings. The Paradox of Thrift has put a cap on the slowly improving retail environment
    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_thrift

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  130. 130

    […] January 7, 2011 | Leave a responseAs promised, I’d like to take a little time to go into the odd December bump in closed sales according to the numbers released this week by the NWMLS. Here are the three points I’ll be […]

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  131. 131
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 127

    Kary…you’re the lawyer…you should “get” it. It’s like the difference between a Form 17 noting a defect and the “marketing remarks” noting a defect. Before the mls put in a SS field the only place to put it was in the marketing remarks. Maybe our intense discussion online caused someone to notice a field was needed. Who knows.

    What we do know is no part of this discussion belongs on this post. It’s rude . Stop it!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  132. 132
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Blake @ 129 – “The reported unemployment rate fell a substantial .4% to 9.4%. However, much of that that gain is a statistical mirage. The BLS reports a whopping 260,000 people dropped out of the work force. As a result the participation rate fell to a new low of 64.3%.”

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2011/01/bls-job-report-december-nonfarm.html

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  133. 133

    By ARDELL @ 131:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 127

    Kary…you’re the lawyer…you should “get” it. It’s like the difference between a Form 17 noting a defect and the “marketing remarks” noting a defect. it!

    No it’s not. What I get is you trying to deny what your prior position was. In the prior thread you thought it was somehow ethical to only analyze the situation from one side’s point of view. Whatever gave the seller the better result (non-disclosure of a material fact) was okay in your view because it didn’t harm the seller’s negotiating position. That’s not how you analyze ethical issues.

    That the disclosure is now by what you call a checkbox, rather than in the agent only remarks, is irrelevant and merely you attempting to side-track the discussion. Your position before was that the buyer’s agent shouldn’t need to be told.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  134. 134
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 133

    What I object to Kary is ANY governing body that considers how things impact the MEMBERS without taking into consideration how the rules impact the buyers and sellers of homes. When the house is listed at a price that will clear the table, there is a gray area where I absolutely must consider my clients positive and negative impact. And yes, I absolutely DO consider my client’s interest first when I determine a strategy. You should as well. All agents should, and so should the rulemakers.

    If you want to accuse me of heavily weighing “my clients negotiating position”. Great! Thank you! I do! No doubt about it!

    But again…this is not the place to unload you beefs off-topic to the post thread.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  135. 135

    By ARDELL @ 134:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 133 – What I object to Kary is ANY governing body that considers how things impact the MEMBERS without taking into consideration how the rules impact the buyers and sellers of homes. When the house is listed at a price that will clear the table, there is a gray area where I absolutely must consider my clients positive and negative impact. And yes, I absolutely DO consider my client’s interest first when I determine a strategy. You should as well. All agents should, and so should the rulemakers.

    This is just plain downright wrong and incorrect. When you try to develop a strategy for a client you have to look at the probable results of the option as well as the legality and ethics of the option. The result that will generate the highest price is not necessarily the best option.

    And it’s not like SKCAR is out on a limb here, you are. Again both the NWMLS and DOL would sanction you for the type of nondisclosure you were advocating in the other thread. I really think you need to give up on this because you’re just digging yourself a deeper hole the more you post. The rules you didn’t like in the other thread existed for a reason. They are not bad rules simply because you don’t understand.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  136. 136
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 135

    Not a problem Kary, because I will not act counter to the best interest of my client. You can tell me I have to til the cows come home. It ain’t gonna happen.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  137. 137

    RE: ARDELL @ 136 – I’d suggest you re-think that, because simply not being a member of NAR and not having to follow their ethical rules won’t protect you.

    RCW 18.86.030 provides the duties of an agent include the duty: “(d) To disclose all existing material facts known by the licensee and not apparent or readily ascertainable to a party; provided that this subsection shall not be construed to imply any duty to investigate matters that the licensee has not agreed to investigate;”

    Using your simplistic one-sided analysis it would be proper for an agent to help assist a client in fraudulent activity, because that would get the best result for your client. The analysis of what is proper to do extends beyond determining what is best for your client.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  138. 138

    […] December 2010 showed a surprising surge in King County closed sales. How much of a surge, and what drove it, is up for debate, but one thing is clear–more closed […]

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

Leave a Reply

Use your email address to sign up with Gravatar for a custom avatar.
Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Please read the rules before posting a comment.